The Progressive Conservative government has said that recipients of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) will start receiving their five per cent increases in September.
As part of his re-election campaign—and to keep up with his opponents who were all committing to a drastic increase in ODSP payments--Premier Doug Ford promised a five per cent increase in monthly payments for ODSP recipients.
Individuals on ODSP have been receiving $1,169 a month since 2018. A five per cent increase would put an additional $58 in their pockets.
“This is just one of the many ways our government is providing support to those who need it most,” Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy told reporters Tuesday after re-tabling the budget.
The PCs have said they will legislate an annual increase based on inflation, which has ballooned over the last few years.
However, advocates say a five per cent increase is not nearly enough.
Last month, more than 200 advocacy groups signed an open letter asking the Ontario government to double ODSP payment rates. They argued that a five per cent increase tied to inflation would mean ODSP recipients would be constantly struggling.
"With continued inflation, and the associated increase in cost of living, five per cent is not nearly enough of a rate increase to survive," the Income Security Advocacy Centre wrote in their letter.
In a news conference, Bethlenfalvy was asked repeatedly by reporters whether he could live on $1,200 a month. He evaded the questions, saying only that the government was delivering on their campaign commitment.
“The question is, what can we do for the people of Ontario that are the most vulnerable?” Bethlenfalvy said instead. “This is a step in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, the Progressive Conservatives have incorporated a number of other money-saving proposals into their 2022 budget, including eliminating licence plate sticker renewal fees, cutting the gas tax and dolling out money to parents.
The new ODSP payments will begin in September, the ministry said, and are typically made out at the end of the month.